Improving My Plein Airs
4mo
Brad Guinen
Although most of my work is digital, I've started doing plein airs in gouache as a side hobby and have been having alot of fun with them. I'd like to know what yall think could be improved. Specifically, I still feel like my values, colors, and temperatures could be better. Here are my most recent ones. Any and all critiques are always welcomed though :)
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Yiming Wu
Cool stuff there! Very nicely detailed and also with good texture! I haven't painted much gouache in colour but this does look inspiring for me to try some!
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Brad Guinen
Really appreciate that @Yiming Wu . You totally should! although I'm still very much a beginner, working traditionally with gouache has been transformative in my understanding of color. If your looking for a place to start, I can't recommend @James Gurney's youtube and gumroad channels enough. I'd say his best advice for those new to color is to use a limited pallet. I still only use 3(4max) colors + White and it makes conceptualizing color movement much simpler! Stoked to see what you come up with though!
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Jennifer Wang
Hi @Brad Guinen ! I absolutely love these plein air studies! Especially the way that you contrast manmade structures against organic foliage and other natural elements -- it really makes your subjects stand out. I also think that your colors and values and attentiveness to detail are all really effective. As Luigi said, something that you can consider paying attention to is working on your values. Consider doing a small thumbnail sketch before you begin painting, in pen or pencil or whatever feels most convenient for you-- no details, just the simple black and white notan statement of the scene that you want to paint in big broad shapes. This tiny notan study can help guide you to maintain a strong value structure as you paint, and as long as you stay to that notan, you can create a lot of different temperature and color shifts that are present from all that sunlight bouncing around. As for observing and painting color and temperature more specifically, it can help to ask yourself what the lighting conditions and weather are like before you start painting. Bright sunny weather means that there'll be a lot of light and therefore color bouncing around, giving you an opportunity to create a lot of temperature variations and to push for more vibrant colors. If you're painting in overcast weather, you can really push or exaggerate how cloudy or gray or 'local color' everything is, to really convey the mood and setting you're painting from. I also think that you can push the depth in your shadows by creating more temperature variations. Hope this helps! Really looking forward to your next studies!! :)
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Brad Guinen
Hey @Jennifer Wang, Thanks a ton for the suggestion! Doing quick notan thumbnails really helped me solve problems and get a clearer structure beneath the painting. Still alot of work to in terms of value, color, edge, ect... But this is a tool I will use going forward. Thanks again!!
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Luigi Manese
Hi @Brad Guinen, I definitely think that you are spot on with your assessment. Out of all of the things you mentioned, I think values would probably be the best thing to tackle first because nailing your values will give you more bang for the time investment you put into improving it. Plus, color is dependent on values so having good values will mean better colors. Most of your paintings have that 'overcast lighting feel', because you're staying in the light to midtone value range for all of these. However, your 3rd painting looks like it should be backlit, and I believe the houses in the last painting should be in shadow. I think in general, don't be afraid to go darker with your shadow values so that you can get a clear separation of what's in light and what's in shadow. I think just trying to apply this concept of value separation between light and shadow should strengthen your future studies, and then we can see where we can go from there. Good work, can't wait to see where you go with your subsequent paintings!
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